Re: Ambiguity and disunification

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Thu Mar 03 2005 - 07:13:44 CST

  • Next message: Gregg Reynolds: "Re: teh marbuta"

    Gregg Reynolds wrote at 8:58 PM on Wednesday, March 2, 2005:

    >Dean Snyder wrote:
    >> Wrong - if you encode only one of the disambiguated usages you have
    >> actually INCREASED the ambiguity of the original character; it now has
    >> not only its original ambiguous significance but ALSO a new context-bound
    >> unambiguous significance opposite the newly encoded character's
    >> significance. In addition, there is no way to represent all three usages
    >> (one ambiguous, two unambiguous) in the same plain text passage.
    >You lost me there. If I have <hyphen/minus> and <hyphen>, for example,
    >there's nothing ambiguous about the fact that the former is ambiguous
    >(bi-semous?) and the latter not. How does adding <hyphen> to the
    >repertoire change the meaning of <hyphen/minus>? Have I misunderstood

    If only hyphen/minus and hyphen have been encoded, and you have in a
    single plain text passage a hyphen/minus along with a hyphen the hyphen/
    minus has two possible interpretations - one as the original ambiguous
    hyphen/minus or the other as an unambiguous minus contrasting with the
    hyphen character. Thus its possible interpretations are controlled by the
    presence or absence of a hyphen character in the same plain text passage.
    That is context-bound and frankly stateful.

    >> So you end up precisely with Jony's scenario - if you cut and exchange a
    >> segment of some of this newly encoded and conformant text that happens to
    >> have only examples of the original character in it, you now have no
    >> context with which to decide how this character is to be interpreted
    >> downstream; because the SOLE disambiguation trigger in plain text is the
    >> PRESENCE of at least one of the newly encoded disambiguated characters.
    >Lost me again. Be patient. Are you saying that the presence of e.g.
    ><hyphen> in a string of text somehow affects the meaning of

    It affects the number of choices available - the presence of a hyphen
    adds one more choice for interpretation; its absence leaves you guessing
    as to its usage (is hyphen/minus being used contrastively with hyphen or


    Dean A. Snyder

    Assistant Research Scholar
    Manager, Digital Hammurabi Project
    Computer Science Department
    Whiting School of Engineering
    218C New Engineering Building
    3400 North Charles Street
    Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21218

    office: 410 516-6850
    cell: 717 817-4897

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Mar 03 2005 - 10:41:10 CST